Joan Condyles could often be seen early in the morning walking around her Pocomoke City neighborhood, lost in the Christian music piping through her headphones.
The strolls were one of many parts of Condyles's modest and unassuming life, said Anne Copeland, a friend and neighbor, marked by a love for her family, her work with disabled children, her garden and a devotion to her church.
Condyles was killed in a car accident in southern Worcester County. She was 54.
"She was salt of the earth -- good simple people," said Copeland, who described her as patient and kind. "She lived simply and was not into fancy clothes or make up or anything like that. She was a good Christian woman."
Shortly after 11:30 a.m., a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country Condyles was traveling in on northbound Route 113 was clipped in a rear corner by a 1999 Dodge Stratus as it crossed the highway from the stop sign at the intersection of Betheden Church Road outside of Pocomoke, police said. The minivan swerved and went into the shoulder, rolling over several times before it came to rest upside down on the grass.
Condyles was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband Joe, who had been driving; children Curtis and Christina; daughter-in-law Rebecca; and 22-month-old grandson were taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. Rebecca Condyles, 25, is still in intensive care with head injuries, said Cpl. Greg Chatfield of the Maryland State Police Berlin Barrack. She had been sitting in the rear passenger seat behind her mother-in-law. Condyles's third child, Tim, was not in the car.
The three people in the Stratus declined treatment at the scene. Charges are pending for the 17-year-old woman driving the vehicle, and police are investigating whether she was using a cell phone at the time, Chatfield said.
Condyles was known for her participation in the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Parish choir, her support of the Pocomoke High School Band and her work with in the Worcester County Public Schools.
Condyles has been a physical therapist with the school system since 1996, taking a full-time position based at Cedar Chapel Special School in 2003. She worked with physically disabled children to improve their abilities as well as helping to improve the health and fitness of Worcester's entire student body.
"Joan was a wonderful person who was passionate about helping children, especially those with disabilities," said Glen Hammerbacher, supervisor of special education. "As a physical therapist, she believed that every child could physically reach their highest potential. With a kind, encouraging, and no-nonsense nature, she helped turn doubts from her students into positive thinking and action. We will all miss her."
She also helped with the Special Olympics swim team at the Lower Shore YMCA, Copeland said.
When not at work, Condyles spent a considerable amount of time at church, attending Bible studies and singing alto in the choir, Copeland said. She enjoyed music of all types, often going to Salisbury's concerts in the park, and played the guitar -- a trait she passed along to her children who were active in the Pocomoke High School Band.
The family was very close, Copeland added, and spent a lot of time together.
"It was an old-fashioned type family," she said. "They would always get together and support each other."
News of the accident spread quickly around the Pocomoke area. As of last week, more than 275 people had joined a Facebook group in Condyles' memory.
"She is going to be missed thoughout all of Worcester County," Copeland said. "This is going to leave a big hole."